Start spreading the news, Im leaving today …
For the majority of my time in New York I had Frank Sinatra singing ‘New York’ in my head which I must admit, made it all the more exciting. Waking up in the city that never sleeps had a peculiar exhilaration that cannot be described; the city holds a sense of magic, hope and adventure. It’s a fast paced and active city where everyone is in a rush and there is no time to stand still. Growing up, a lot of my favourite movies or tv shows were set in New York and it was a strange sensation to stand in the actual place the films depicted. I made sure before I left to have a list of 5 things that I really wanted to see, do or experience including seeing the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park, see a broadway play, visit Times Square and go to the top of the Empire State Building.
New York on a Budget:
New York Hotels are expensive, especially when they are central! You need to decide if you value location over luxuries. I chose a hotel in Korea Town as it was within my budget but it was very basic. There was no wifi, no kettle and the ‘included breakfast’ was a muffin and a cup of tea. It was a 15-20 minute walk to Times Square but right around the corner to the Empire State Building. When choosing a hotel, really think about what’s more important to you, I chose to save a bit of money, sacrifice some luxuries and stay in an area thats away from a lot of the action.
The New York Pass; getting the visitors pass was a huge money and time saver. Paying a single fee, the pass allowed me to go to all the major tourist without having to buy a ticket and it also allowed me to bypass the line. This meant that by visiting 3 sites, I had already gotten my money back and saved heaps of time by not needing to wait in line.
Food; is absolutely everywhere. You don’t have to worry about finding something you like on a budget. By avoiding major tourist areas such as Times Square, food was within my budget. If you’re really strapped, there are food trucks all over the place that sell everything from Hot Dogs and burgers, to Indian cuisine. Many trucks have vegetarian and vegan options too! You can also shop from food vendors who sell fresh fruit and vegetables to make sure you keep your vitamin levels up. Many vendors will chop up your fruit if you ask them and it’s super cheap (e.g. four banana’s for a dollar).
The Big Bus; I know it’s super touristy but my New York Pass also included access to the cities Big Bus tours with 3 major lines (uptown, downtown etc). By using the bus, I was able to see most of the city, get on and off as I pleased and once I learnt the lines I needed, I knew how to get back home super cheap. It’s also a great way to learn about the city as the bus have a live guided tour at all times.
My favourite NY moments:
Alice in Wonderland Statue in Central Park: this was my absolute number one thing I wanted to see whilst in New York. As a Hugh fan of Alice, I made sure to google exactly where her statue was and I set out to find her. She was crawling with children but after a few minutes, the kids cleared out and I was able to get a photo with her. She was so beautiful in real life and the attention to detail was amazing. I recommend looking around the entire statue as some details are hidden such as Bill the lizard in behind the back on the main mushroom.
Times Square; the absolute beating heart of the city that never stops. There was always a huge amount of people around so it did get a bit crowded and it was nice to just sit and enjoy the atmosphere. Make sure you visit in the day and during the evening/night as it’s spectacular both ways. There are also some great shops around including Hard Rock Cafe and the Disney Store.
Broadway; a dream within a dream. I got to see Anastasia and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Parts One and Two) during my stay. I could have honestly gone to see a play every night but my budget didn’t allow for it. If you look around Times Square, you can get ticket prices for more than half price sometimes. Also, even walking around the theatre district is amazing when looking at all the architecture and details. For example, the Lyric Theatre where Harry Potter was showing had carpet and wallpaper especially designed for the play. Anastasia was absolutely mesmerising, I may have started crying several notes into the opening number. It got me right in the childhood!
Lady Liberty: She was so beautiful! Originally a gift to the city from France, Lady Liberty is a great symbol of the city and was a definite NY thing I wanted to see. If you take the ferry, it’s only about $11 to go to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. However, just between us squirrel friends, there is a free ferry that goes to the other side of Manhattan Island and if you sit on the left side you will pass Lady Liberty of free.
Empire State Building: I got to relive my ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ and ‘An Affair to Remember’ moment! The hallway to the Empire State Building is absolutely breathtaking all done up in Art Deco style. The view from the top is breathtaking and all the binocular machines are free so you can look around the city as much as you want.
Rockafella Centre: As soon as I reached Rockafella Centre, I immediately thought back to Home Alone 2 and figured out where the giant tree is put up and where Kevin was standing. If you do visit I recommend going to the ‘top of the rock’ and enjoying the views. They are more open than the Empire State and it gives you a great perspective of the city skyline.
Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment: It’s corny I know but I loved watching Sex and the City and although I don’t think Carrie Bradshaw is the best character ever written, I still wanted to visit her apartment. Although you can’t walk up the steps, it was still a nice place to visit.
New York was magical. I wish I was feeling better (bad Endo) and was able to get up and go more than I did. I ran out of time to visit a lot of the museums and art galleries but it just means I am already compiling a list of things to see next time. New York had some fabulous moment, I managed to visit Brooklyn but ran out of time to visit Coney Island. One of my favourite days included visiting the Plaza Hotel and having lunch at it’s food court. Despite America’s imagery being shrouded in fast food, there were heaps of healthy options all over town and I managed to eat lots of delicious fresh food. One of my favourite features were the food trucks that made fresh fruit juices and smoothies. They were a great cheap pick me up and gave me a boost of energy.
Being ill during my trip did hold me back, I had to sit down quite often and I couldn’t be as active as I wanted. Despite this, I was able to enjoy some cafe’s and people watch as I got over pain humps. Getting onto the Big Bus also gave me a chance to see the city without having to walk everywhere. The subway was also really great as it was cheap, fast and regular. I hope to write about travelling with Endometriosis soon.
I’ll look back on my week in New York fondly. I saw some amazing things, ate some delicious food and got to walk amongst the familiar scenes of my childhood. Originally I was worried about safety as I was told I would get mugged, but I actually felt rather safe walking around. I managed to squeeze in a tiny bit of shopping and I can’t wait to share with you the vintage dress I found whilst looking for wifi. Leaving New York I couldn’t help but wave out the window of the plane, it felt like I was leaving something familiar, like it was a friend. Goodbye New York and thanks for the fabulous week!